News / Calgary

Calgary landlords preparing for refugee influx

Strategic Group CEO offering carte blanche to meet the demand

Strategic Group CEO Riaz Mamdani says his company is willing to do what it takes to provide housing to Syrian Refugees coming to Canada. Mamdani was a child refugee from Uganda in the 1970s, and said he and his family now want to give back.

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Strategic Group CEO Riaz Mamdani says his company is willing to do what it takes to provide housing to Syrian Refugees coming to Canada. Mamdani was a child refugee from Uganda in the 1970s, and said he and his family now want to give back.

Calgary’s landlords are stepping forward to say they’re ready to accept Syrian refugees into their properties.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi mentioned that the city is meeting with some of the city's larger property owners during a phone in on CBC radio Wednesday afternoon.

When contacted, the mayor’s office declined to elaborate on any meetings at this time, as did Calgary Housing Company.

But Riaz Mamdani, the CEO of Calgary-based Strategic Group, confirmed he had spoken with the mayor’s office as well as federal officials and made a commitment to help.

He said his company – which owns rental properties across Canada – is prepared to open its properties to Syrian refugees with no limits imposed.

“If that means we’re not going to charge them for a period of time, that’s our commitment to the overall cause,” said Mamdani.

He said his company doesn’t have a budget in this undertaking.

“Our plan is to do what it takes,” he said. “Our plan is to assess the need. The greater the need, the greater the resources – and we’ll find the resources.”

Mamdani is himself a refugee. His parents fled Uganda in 1973 when he was just a small child, and they settled in Calgary. He went on to study pharmacy and law before finding his niche in real estate.

“My family are immigrants to Canada who came in a difficult time from a part of the world that was in chaos,” he said. “This is part of giving back to people 45 years later in a similar circumstance.”

Another Calgary company – Boardwalk Rental Communities – said it was already planning to address the cause. It is dedicating 350 of its rentals across Canada, including about 50 in Calgary, to Syrian refugees.

David McIlveen, Director of Community Development, said the company will be reducing rent by $150 at each of those properties for the first year.

“Its part of our DNA ,” said McIlveen. “Social responsibility is one of core values as a company.”

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